Hameir Wright delivered a scathing rebuke of Washington men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins and explained why he’s one of six Huskies who have entered the NCAA transfer portal.
During a 21-minute podcast interview hosted by his former Husky teammate Noah Dickerson, Wright detailed his frustrations with Hopkins and regrets spending the past two years at UW.
“If I could just rewind back two years to my sophomore year, I would have left with y’all,” Wright said to Dickerson, who graduated in 2019. “If I had a time machine, we would have went out on top. That nice little meeting we had in the football stadium, that would have been the last one for Hameir.”
The Huskies normally do not comment on players who leave via transfer and a UW spokesperson declined comment for this story.
Wright, a 6-foot-9 forward from Albany, New York, began a relationship while in high school with Hopkins, who was a Syracuse assistant at the time.
When Hopkins was hired at Washington in March 2017, Wright committed to the Huskies three months later.
The four-star recruit, who was ranked 72nd nationally by Rivals, 80th by ESPN and 89th by Scout among 2018 prospects, began his collegiate career as a backup while playing in 33 of 34 games.
The next season, Wright started 26 of 32 games and played a supporting role while averaging 2.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 17.9 minutes on a UW team that won the Pac-12 regular-season title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The following season, Washington landed heralded recruits Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels and garnered preseason Final Four projections that proved to be way off the mark.
“After my sophomore year I was thinking about leaving, then I had a conversation with one of the coaches and they were like things were going to change,” Wright said. “This was before Jaden committed and we just had Isaiah. I said, ‘Bro, but if Jaden commits it’s over. I already know what role he’s going to take.’ But he was like, ‘Nah, nah.’
“Jaden commits and exactly what I said would happen, happens. Jaden is a great talent (and) I love my brother to death. Even he would yell at me and say ‘Hameir why don’t you (shoot more)?’ And I’d say ‘Bro, you know if I do that I’m getting subbed out.’ And he be like, ‘Bro that’s some (expletive).’”
During a disappointing 2019-20 season in which Washington finished 15-17 and last in the Pac-12 at 5-13, Wright made modest gains while averaging 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and shooting 40.3% on three-pointers in Pac-12 games.
Without Stewart and McDaniels, who entered the NBA draft and were chosen in the first round, Wright said he believed he would receive more offensive responsibilities the following season as a senior.
“I was like, what’s my role going to be?” Wright said. “And (Hopkins) was like we’re going to need you to get 10-12 points next year for us to be good. I’m like, I might get a little play called here or there. I might get a little longer leash.
“No. We running the same plays and (I’m) running the same position. If the play breaks down, you have no room. If you don’t have an open shot, pass the ball. That was it. All right, so some games I got in my own head and I was like I’m going to chuck. Like I don’t care anymore. You know what I’m saying? Like, I don’t care.”
This season Wright was third on the team with 100 three-point attempts while shooting 29% from long range. He attempted just 45 shots inside the arc while averaging 6.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 23.5 minutes.
Wright scored a career-high 18 points, including five three-pointers, in a regular season 75-74 defeat at Arizona and finished sixth on UW’s career blocks list with 133.
“I always felt like I could do more, but it is what it is,” Wright said. “Whether or not I didn’t earn it or whether or not I didn’t get the opportunity, that’s up for debate. I just thought I got a lot better than what people saw.”
Even though Hopkins was one of Wright’s biggest supporters publicly, Wright attributed his lack of development to his former coach and said: “Once he has his fixed mindset of who you are as a player, there was not much that he wants you to do outside of that.”
Wright said he tried to reach Hopkins before entering the transfer portal and the two have not talked since the end of the season.
“It just wasn’t a good situation for me to be in basketball-wise at all,” Wright said. “We talked multiple times throughout the year. You know where my head was at most of the year. I felt like I wasted a lot of my talents here. I told Coach Hop that. Said it to his face, one on one.”
Wright is the latest Husky to enter the transfer portal, joining Erik Stevenson, Marcus Tsohonis, Nate Pryor, J’Raan Brooks and RaeQuan Battle.
“All of these guys transferring, I put money down, … but he’s probably going to have a bad rap for a lot of these guys,” Wright said. “He’s going to say bad things about some of these dudes just to protect his own name if I had to guess because he’s already under some hot fire.”
Wright also implied he felt like he was misled by Hopkins about his role on the team.
“It wasn’t a good environment for me to be in anymore,” he said. “I was too hip to everything. I knew everything that was going on. I know Coach Hop for too long. It was hard for him to keep lying.”
If the defections have ceased and leading scorer Quade Green turns pro, then Washington will return just four players (Jamal Bey, Nate Roberts, Cole Bajema and Riley Sorn) who played last season.
Despite the way their relationship has spiraled, Wright maintains a strong connection with Hopkins.
“Crazy thing is, I got mad love for bro off the court,” Wright said. “As a person, we’ll have a relationship for the rest of my life. But on the basketball court, it wasn’t the situation for me.”
— Stevenson announced he’s transferring to South Carolina and Battle verbally committed to Montana State on Sunday. Previously, Pryor said he’s headed to New Mexico State.